Entering the Hell and Heartbreak of the Grotesque Book of Judges (Daniel Stulac)

Is the Book of Judges a morality play? A celebration of violence? An injunction against moral relativism? Could it be . . . good news?

In this week’s episode, Dru Johnson interviews Dr. Daniel J. Stulac, who challenges us to enter the hell and heartbreak of this grotesque, violent, and provocative part of Scripture. Rather than adopting moralistic readings of Judges (common in Sunday school classes and children’s Bibles), Daniel wants us to read Judges prophetically—as a book that mirrors the violence in our own hearts and turns us to greater dependence on an a King who will set things right.

Dr. Stulac is a visiting assistant professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School, and the author of the recent monograph, Gift of the Grotesque: A Christological Companion to the Book of Judges. His other areas of interest include the agriculture of ancient Israel and the intersection of agrarianism and biblical hermeneutics.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Misconceptions about the Book of Judges
  • 2:59 The “theological nightmare”
  • 6:45 Violence in the Bible
  • 9:12 Time shifting in Judges
  • 12:46 Judges as literature of exile and testing
  • 17:35 Entering hell
  • 20:25 Idolatry and controlling the divine
  • 25:46 Judges and the Torah
  • 31:03 Why does Israel need a king?

Tweetable quote:

“At the heart of idolatry is the desire to be in control of the divine.” (22:10)

Show notes by Micah Long

Image created by Rubner Durais

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